The Omniscient Mussel has again unleashed her annual Twitter #operaplot competition, with Eric Owens serving as this year's judge and prizes on offer from dozens of opera houses around the world. The idea is to summarize a well-known opera — or an obscure one, if you dare — in, at most, one hundred forty characters. We should acknowledge that the godfather of #operaplot was the noted philosopher and aphorist Friedrich Nietzsche, who, in his 1888 pamphlet The Case of Wagner, offered these jokey plot summaries of Wagner operas:
A Wagnerian ballet may drive one to despair—or virtue! [Tannhäuser.]
One should never know whom exactly one has married. [Lohengrin.]
Old corrupted females prefer to be redeemed by chaste youths. [Parsifal.]
"But why didn't you tell me this before! Nothing simpler than that!" [Tristan.]
It may have the direst consequences if one doesn't go to bed at the right time. [Lohengrin again.]
Let's hope that Miss Mussel and Mr. Owens will consider giving Prof. Nietzsche a posthumous honorable mention. He deserves no less. In any case, the competition will be accepting entries through the end of the week.